Places to submit

The dream is that you wrestle with your inner demons and the particular monsters of your peculiar experience to create a story that is so brilliant that its genius cannot be denied.

The reality is that you write a story, it gets rejected, you write another, it goes the same way, you write a hundred more, and maybe get one accepted.

So, with a hundred stories, and an uncountable number of target magazine/journals/websites, how do you keep track of your own submissions and the places you could possibly submit to in the future.

Now, my amazing idea when I started submitting the stories I wrote, not so very long ago, was to create a Google Doc with all the targets and my stories. I figured I’d fiddle with it a little over the coming months, hone it down to a perfect piece of productive software, then let others have it…

Yep, great idea.

Well, here it is:

It’s a pretty useful tool as it contains a number of targets you can apply to, along with their details, as well as a place to store your stories and see what’s happening with them, and an automatic count of your submissions, rejections and acceptances.

(note: there may be a problem with the automatic count, which means you need to copy the special code on this page to a script (Data–>script editor))




With experience comes knowledge! (Remember that, you snot-nosed infants… but even more you snot-nosed OAPs). Today I found a tool (that most people more experienced know about) that is really useful. This is Submission Grinder. This is a great way to see different magazines/journals/websites that you can target, and also see their stats (mean number of days till they read you story, etc).

Ok, it isn’t quite the same personalised experience as the Google Doc I was making, but it’s damn useful.

As well as this, the best I’ve come across is Submittable (which you probably know if you’ve submitted anything).

If you know other ways to keep track of what you’re doing and of the places to submit to, please let me know.

A column of story

How to entitle this… ‘A column of story’… ‘Linear writing’… ‘Following time’…

To be honest, I can’t even describe to myself what I want to say!

Two steps back: I’d like to talk about something I’ve noticed in my writing and others in the few months I’ve been writing and submitting flash fiction (aiming at the 1000 word mark). It primarily concerns how time flow is dealt with in story telling.

About two months ago I wrote a story called ‘Megafauna’. Super quick summary: humans mess things up, wipe out humanity except for a few people who jump into cryostorage, pop out XXXX years later and the story happens. The first part (the background about the fall of humanity) was written as an ad-lib exercise, but I knew it was background, so the whole lot flashed by quickly and was written in past perfect tense (they had messed things up, a select few had decided to end it, et cetera). I wrote the rest of the story (past simple; standard stuff) and really liked it, but felt the beginning was, for lack of a better term, shit. Every time I re-read it, I was struck by how boring it was just reading through a bunch of background in an extremely distant and non-narrative tense before the exciting part of the story even began.

Eventually, after fiddling with it for a few weeks, I came to my first real learning moment since I started: If there is anything you are less than 100% sure about in your story, it means it’s crap (just the bit you ain’t sure about)… if its own father/mother doesn’t love it, there’s no way a stranger will.

So, I decreed to keep my crap-dar keenly engaged while reading my own work and if it quivered even slightly, I would be willing to engage in hardcore re-writing.

Back to Megafauna: the problem was the background section. I trimmed it and trimmed it until finally I realised that if I think it needs trimming so much, it just needs removing–so I removed the whole bit. It was approximately half the story (500 words) to begin with, and essential background for the main bit of the story, but I thought I would attempt to integrate it with the main characters’ chatter. It turns out that 500 words of background narration can be reduced to about 50 words of careful hints!

Well bugger me!

Or, to put it another way: Tris had spent much time fiddling with the story and had realised it needed changing before he asked the world to bugger him.

Now, it doesn’t finish there. I’ve just read the novel (series of novellas?) Wool by Hugh Howey and while my review is far from glowing, it does employ this ‘forward’ storytelling technique exceptionally well. In fact, I had a peculiar feeling that the text was a long, thin column of words that flowed downwards exactly in synch with with time. I haven’t experienced that sensation before with a piece of fiction, but it did make it very easy to read.

So, in short, things I’ve learnt recently are: if you don’t love a bit of your story, it needs changing AND you should do your best to tell the story in chronological order, starting with the first relevant event that befalls the protagonist.

Bored now.